Commercial Photography, AAS

Room: C-Building, C-745

Phone: (718) 482-5690


The Commercial Photography program gives you access to such professional photographic equipment and facilities as our state of the art black & white and color darkroom, shooting studios and digital imaging facility. With 13 courses dedicated to photography taught by faculty members who are currently working in the field and are exhibiting artists, you will gain experience from all over the photographic and arts spectrum in this quickly changing industry.

The General Commercial Photography option is designed to train and qualify graduates for entry-level positions in the commercial photography industry. Students learn how to make pictures using photo-mechanical processes.  Students learn advanced concepts and techniques of commercial photography, including digital capture and retouching, electronic flash, and tungsten illumination. This option is optimal for those who plan to transfer and continue studying photography in the 4-year college or start working in the field after graduation.

The Fine Arts Photography Option is offered in conjunction with the Fine Arts degree program. Six (6) photography classes are replaced by various fine arts classes such as Beginning Drawing, Introduction to Design, Computer Art, etc. This option is for those who are looking for a broader arts education that is not limited to photographic techniques. Students will learn how to use photographs to communicate ideas as an expressive medium. This option is for those who wish to transfer and focus on disciplines other than photography.

The Commercial Photography Certificate is excellent for those who want to learn/polish basic and intermediate photography skills in a short period of time. To complete the certificate program, students are required to complete 9 photography classes (27 credits total). There is no General Education requirement for the Certificate. Students wishing to pursue a certificate need to see a faculty advisor.

Are You Interested In...

  • Working in a creative field?
  • Building a network of talented individuals?
  • Working in art-related organizations such as museums and galleries?
  • Traveling and meeting new people?
  • Starting your own business?

Skills You Will Learn

  • Basic and advanced skills of analog and digital camera operations.
  • Analog black and white film processing and darkroom printing.
  • Color darkroom printing and photographing color theory.
  • Continuous and strobe studio lighting.
  • Business aspects of photography: contracts, invoices, artist statements, etc.
  • Discipline, problem-solving, verbal and written communication, leadership, and teamwork.

What makes this major unique?

LaGuardia Community College is the only two-year institution in the City University of New York (CUNY) to offer an Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) degree in Photography. This program prepares students for a position in the diverse and quickly changing industry. With an emphasis on photographic technique and the ability to link these skills to a personal artistic vision, our program successfully enables students to follow their own path into the extraordinary world of modern photography. 

Former students are working as photojournalists, fashion/editorial photographers, wedding/portrait photographers, photo-retouchers, studio assistants, digital assistants, digital printers, photo editors, industry related retail salespersons, and managers at imaging industry businesses. 

Others have successfully completed BFA degrees at top rated senior colleges and have then gone onto graduate school.

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Certificate Program

The Photography Program, in conjunction with the Fine Arts degree Program, also offers a Fine Arts Photography option within the Commercial Photography degree. This option is not only a counterpoint to the specifically commercial nature of the photo degree, certificate, and Digital option, but is a response to overwhelming interest in photography as an art form shown by inquiring students in both majors. The Fine Arts option focuses on traditional techniques, their integration with digital technology, and the development of the conceptual building blocks required to make a fine art statement. Students will also receive essential information on business practices, self-promotion, portfolio development and how to secure employment as either a photographer’s assistant or staff photographer. Additional courses focus on content, such as color theory, computer art (graphics, necessary as an introduction to digital imagery), two-dimensional design and photojournalism. This AAS degree is also an excellent vehicle through which to transfer to a variety of four-year colleges with professional programs in photography.

Commercial Photography: 24 credits 

HUA130 Beginning Photography
HUA131 Digital Photography I
HUA145 Studio Lighting I
HUA230 Intermediate Photography
HUA231 Digital Photography II
HUA 234 Color Photography
HUA245 Studio Lighting II

Humanities: 3 credits 
Select one of the following courses: 3
HUA155 The View Camera
HUA238 Alternative Photography


Career Possibilities

The New York metropolitan area is the very center of commercial photography. LaGuardia Community College takes advantage of its location by providing excellent “hands-on” experience within the actual field itself to complement students’ on-campus studies.

Students will receive essential information on business practices, self-promotion, portfolio development and how to secure employment as either a photographer’s assistant or staff or freelance photographer. There are many co-curricular opportunities, internships, contests, and exhibitions that students can participate in, graduating with an extensive list of achievements in the photography field. 

This AAS degree is also an excellent vehicle through which to transfer to a variety of four-year colleges with professional programs in photography.

  • Commercial/editorial/event Photographer
  • Studio Manager
  • Photo Editor/Retoucher
  • Digital Technician
  • Photo Assistant
  • Digital and Analog Printer
  • Art Director
  • Art/Photo Curator or Dealer
  • Art/Photo Educator
  • College-level Photography Instructor
  • Museum/Gallery Curator

Transfer Possibilities

  • School of Visual Arts – BFA Photo and Video
  • Queens College – BFA Photography and Imaging
  • Hunter College – BFA Studio Art
  • Brooklyn College – BFA, BA Art
  • City College – BA Art, BFA Electronic Design & Multimedia
  • Fashion Institute of Technology – BFA Photography and Related Media
  • Purchase College – BFA Photography
  • Pratt Institute – BFA Photography

Degree Requirements

A. REQUIRED CORE: 12 Credits

English: 6 credits

ENG101 English Composition I – 3

(or ENA101 depending on placement scores)

ENG102 Writing through Literature – 3

Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning: 3 credits

Select one course from the following: 3

  • MAT107 Mathematics and the Modern World
  • MAT123 Modern Problem Solving (Depending on Placement Scores)
  • MAT115 College Algebra and Trigonometry (MAT117 Algebra and Trigonometry depending on placement scores)
  • MAT120 Elementary Statistics (MAT119 Statistics with Elementary Algebra depending on placement scores)

Life and Physical Sciences: 3 credits

Select one of the following courses: 3

  • SCB101 Topics in Biological Sciences
  • SCB206 Introduction to Neuroscience
  • SCC101 Topics in Chemistry
  • SCC102 Chemistry of Photography
  • SCP101 Topics in Physics
  • SCP105 Life in the Universe
  • SCP140 Topics in Astronomy

B. FLEXIBLE CORE: 9 Credits*

To complete the degree requirements from the Flexible Core, students are advised to select three courses from the five Flexible Core categories. Note: Only one course can be selected from any one category and select courses from three different disciplines.

  • World Cultures and Global Issues
  • US Experience in its Diversity
  • Creative Expression
  • Individual and Society
  • Scientific World


Courses Credits
Commercial Photography 27
HAF090 First Year Seminar for Theater and Photography 0
HUA130 Beginning Photography 3
HUA131 Digital Photography I 3
HUA231 Digital Photography II 3
HUA230 Intermediate Photography 3
HUA145 Studio Lighting I 3
HUA245 Studio Lighting II 3
HUA234 Color Photography 3
HUA275 Commercial Photography Workshop 3
HUA280 Commercial Photography Seminar 3
Humanities 12
HUA202 History of Photography 3
HUN191 Photojournalism 3
Select two of the following 6
HUA155 The View Camera 3
HUA238 Alternative Photography 3
HUA291 Experiential Learning in Photography 3
HUC240 Video Production Workshop 3

Graduate in Two Years!

Review your Degree Map to stay on track.